Plan B

Tuesday 10th July 2012

Today was a Plan B day.  After a week of very little running due to work commitments I was keen to get a good week of hard training in. Well, in fairness the work commitment was a school cycling trip that involved several hours of exercise per day. But still, it wasn’t running.

I went down to the track this afternoon with a plan to do a session I hadn’t done in a while, namely 10×600 with half-lap jog recoveries, and a rough idea of how fast I wanted to do them. I jogged to the 200m start line and started my watch. By 300 metres I was hideously out of breath and by 500 my legs were giving up. I crossed the line in roughly the time I had hoped for, but knew there was no way my legs were going to allow me another effort, let alone another 9. I sat on the wall and thought about what I should do. Having not considered the possibility of feeling terrible, there was no Plan B but it soon became ‘run home, get in the shower and have dinner.’ Then the athlete in me kicked in, and put forward his own suggestion of running a short effort (maybe 800 metres or a mile) flat out, thus relegating the previous plan to C. I then started to think rationally. I still wanted to run something fast but there is no point doing a massive session if your legs aren’t up to it, so I opted for 6×200 off 200 jog, a completely manageable session even on tired legs. I went easy on the first two, clocking outside 30 seconds and then pushed it on the next four. I was disappointed not to run the session I had planned but was pleased to have at least got some quality in, even though it was only about one mile’s worth in total. I dragged my weary legs back home, taking a longer route home in the vague hope that a long cool down would help my legs loosen up. It didn’t.

The idea of binning your session and doing something else is one I got from a friend and training partner. It makes perfect sense, I suppose, but you never hear about the pros doing it. Does Mo Farah ever turn up at the track for a session and say ‘8 times one mile? Sod that. I’m going home to watch the Arsenal game.’ I doubt it. Does Geoffrey Mutai ever wake up before a 40k tempo run and say ‘You know what, I don’t really fancy it today. I’m going back to bed.’ Of he doesn’t, that’s why he’s better than me.

Screw being sensible, I’m sticking to the schedule in future.

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One comment

  1. Alice says:

    The difference my love is that Farah and Mutai have the luxury of being able to dedicate all of their time and energy to their training. It’s their full time job. I’ve seen you train and race and know that if you have to drop out or switch to Plan B it’s not due to a lack of motivation or dedication to the cause, but because your body is screaming out for you to go easy. Cutting back once in a blue moon isn’t going to stop you progressing though.